CHARLOTTE'S WEB Genealogical Dictionary



Dictionary of Genealogy & Archaic Terms


17 January, 2012

This file contains many of the common "buzzwords", terminology and legal words found in genealogy work. If you think of any words that should be added to this list, please notify Randy Jones.

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[Archaic] a flask; a small container carried on a person and containing an alcoholic beverage.
descended from a group of West Indian women of African descent who were taken to the Delaware Valley to "entertain" the British Troops during the War of Independence. When the British pulled out, the women and their children were abandoned. Another legend on them is that black free-men with the Dutch surnames from the Dutch plantations interbreeded with the Indians, possible Tuscarora Indians. Some agree that it was a mixture of Munsee, Mattabesic, Pompton and Metoac Indians.
[Scandanavian] Nobility of same rank as 'Earl' does in England. The title of Jarl first appeared in England under Canute (1016-35), of which the Anglo-Saxon version was eorl. He had his own court and exercised his own jurisdiction. In Sweden (at least from the 12th century on) the highest office of State was that of jarl. The jarl was essentially comparable with the Frankish 'mayor of the palace' (a position occupied by Charlemagne's ancestors). He was the leader of the traditional levy of armed men and ships (ledung). His power could often rival that of the king, and he was usually supported by the nobles
a payment made by burgesses to a royal official
one framed with joints
the condition by which the property and wealth a woman carries into marriage become jointly and equally owned by husband and wife
a wandering minstrel  
the calendar in use prior to 1752 (see Gregorian Calendar) that was created by Julius Caesar
[Arabic] troops or army
not necessarily meaning a father/son relationship, these terms were used to differentiate between men (and sometimes women) with the same name whether they were related or not. The oldest would be called Senior and the other(s) would be titled accordingly. If Peter Smith had a nephew Peter Smith, the former would be titled Senior, the latter Junior. In a small community, there might be three men named Peter Smith. They would be named Senior, Junior and III according to their ages. If Peter Smith, Senior died or moved out of the community, Peter Smith, Junior would become Senior. These titles were not permanent, but rather conveniences in colonial families and communities.
In England, the Justiciar was the king's chief minister in Norman times and ran the country during the king's frequent absences on the continent. The last Justiciar was Hubert de Burgh who died in 1232, although the barons attempted to revive the office during the later part of Henry III's reign. In Ireland, the Justiciar was the king's chief representative in the 13th century, but those duties were taken over by the Lord Lieutenant. In Scotland, the Justiciar was the supreme law officer until the 15th century when that position came to be filled by lord justice general. -- John Steele Gordon  
a circuit judge
originally know as 'Keepers of the Peace', they were charged with suppressing disorder, seeking out and trying felons and trespassers, and enforcing labor laws.  They tried cases quarterly, although occasionally on shorter intervals.  Trials were by jury, and convicted felons were typically hung.  The creation of this office led to a decline in the importance of sheriffs and the courts of the shires and hundreds.
(1) head of the judiciary
(2) viceroy or regent for the king in the king's absence, especially over a king's remote properties.  For example, the English king typically appointed a justicar as governor of Ireland, when England possessed Ireland during medieval times 

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J
K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z


{A}The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition copyright © 1992 by Houghton Mifflin Company.

{B} Black's Law Dictionary, 6th Edition


{E} Evans, Barbara Jean. The New A to Zax

{F}The Dictionary of Genealogy by Terrick V H Fitzhugh

{H} History of the Later Roman Empire,  Vol.1, J.B. Bury, 1958.

{O}The Oxford English Dictionary

{P} Pepys' diary

{R} Random House Unabridged Dictionary (2006)

{Q} Hinshaw, William Wade, "Encyclopedia of America Quaker Genealogy," (1938, Rpt., Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1994)

{W} Webster's Collegiate Dictionary; Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, © 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc.

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